Saint of the Day – 6 September – St Magnus of Füssen – Religious Priest, Monk, Abbot, Missionary, Spiritual student of Saint Columban and Saint Gall at Arbon (part of modern Switzerland) (Died in c 666? or 722? at the monastery at Füssen, Bavaria (in modern Germany) of natural causes). Patronages – against caterpillars,• against hail or hailstorms,• against lightning,• against snakes,• against vermin,• for protection of crops.
St Magnus of was both a monk and a missionary. An interesting story involves him bringing reconciliation between St Gall and his master St Columban. He is also venerated as one of the Holy Helpers invoked in time of plague such as the Black Death.
Monk of St Gall
Magnus was a monk at St Gall. One moving story involving him is that, on learning of the death of Columbanus whom Gall had refused to accompany to Bobbio in Italy, Gall sent Magnus to pray at Columbanus’s grave. Magnus returned with St Columbanus’s staff which on his deathbed Columbanus had instructed to be given to Gall as a gesture of reconciliation in the quarrel which a few years before had separated them. Magnus is said to have succeeded Gall after his death.
Invited by a priest of Augsburg, Magnus went with the support of Bishop Wichbert of that diocese to preach to the pagan people of the Allgäu region of Bavaria. When he was left alone, Wichbert sent some young clerics to help him and these formed a monastic community later known as Sankt-Mung at Füssen, in Bavaria. Magnus helped the locals clear the land for cultivation and began a mining industry in a nearby mountain.
Death and influence
Magnus died after 26 years of missionary work and his relics were returned to St Gall. He is usually represented as treading on serpents. He is also named as one of the fourteen Holy Helpers invoked against storms, insects, dragons and other disasters, such as the Black Death.
Thought for the Day – 25 July – St Christopher – Memorial today 25 July
St Christopher, one of the “Fourteen Holy Helpers,” has been highly venerated since ancient times in both the Eastern and Western Churches. The older martyrologies say that he suffered death for Christ; in more recent centuries piety has woven garlands of legend about his name. Christopher has become a giant who wished to enter the service of the most powerful of lords. He first thought that the emperor qualified; later he selected the devil and finally he discovered Christ to be the most powerful Sovereign over all the world. From then on he served Him with greatest fidelity.
Because Christopher was of giant stature, he practiced charity by carrying pilgrims across a certain river. Once a child asked to be taken across. He complied as usual. While carrying the child on his shoulders through the river, it became heavier and heavier and finally he could hardly support it. Then the revelation was made: “You are carrying the Lord of the world!” It was Christ (Christopher means “Christ-carrier”).
In all of us, our water is turned into wine when we get close to Jesus Christ!
The legend has the nature of a symbol. Bishop Vida gives the following exposition: “Because you, O Christopher, always carried Christ in your heart, the artists place Christ on your shoulders. Because you suffered much, they paint you standing deep in the waters. And because you could not accomplish this without being large of stature, they have made you a giant, bigger than great temples; therefore do you live under the open heavens during the greatest cold. And since you conquered all that is difficult, they have given you a blossoming palm as traveling staff.”
Excerpted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Pius Parsch